ABC7's own Alysha Del Valle was the mistress of ceremonies Thursday night for the University of Southern California Neighborhood Academic Initiative graduation.
The seven-year program helps low income, minority students living in the area surrounding the USC campus. It gives them a college-bound mindset, something life-changing for this year's 57 graduating scholars.
"My mom expressed to me growing up that college wouldn't be financially in our budget. So I knew that getting this USC scholarship would be a great burden lifted off of my family, off of my mom, and be a great accomplishment for me as a youth growing up," said Tristan Baizar, an Academic Initiative scholar.
Most of the students who make it through the Neighborhood Academic Initiative go to USC with a full scholarship. Others choose UCLA, Ivy League schools or even West Point.